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Electric And Hybrid Car Sales Soared 73% In 2012

Tesla Model S

Considering hybrids began to arrive on the U.S. market at the end of the 1990s, it has taken a while for the market to pick up steam, but it’s looking like that is now the case.

According to market research from Mintel, once all the numbers are in, sales of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric cars should reach around 440,000 vehicles for 2012. That’s a 73% increase on the year before. However, it’s still only 3.3% of the U.S. car market, so there’s certainly a lot of room for growth.

Some of the growth could well be due the increasing number of options on offer. The number of hybrid and electric car models for sale quadrupled in 2012, going from just 3 models to 11.

Demand is expected to continue to grow, with automakers expecting to sell around 50,000 electric cars in 2013. There will be yet more hybrids entering the market in 2013, including the For Fusion Hybrid series, the Honda Accord Hybrid, as well as plug-in hybrids such as the Ford Fusion Energi and the Honda Accord Plug-in. These models are aimed firmly at the mainstream.

As well as the more eco–friendly nature of hybrids and electric cars, people are of course warming to the significant savings experienced at the pump, in this era of high gasoline prices.

People are still less comfortable buying plug-in models. Mintel research found that 87% of buyers worry about the lifespan of the battery, and 86% percent are concerned about finding places to recharge their car away from home. A significant 85% of people are concerned by the relatively long battery charge times of many plug-ins and electric cars. All of these factors are likely to change in coming years, which should only add to the appeal of these types of cars.

Do you think sales of hybrid and electric cars will continue to grow at similar rates in coming years?

Image CC licensed by Steve Jurvetson: Electric Tesla Model S

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